Amok Mama: Smearing Schulbrot

Everybody knows if you wish cancer on people you're more likely to get it yourself. Which is why Jacinta Nandi would never do it.

I see an old friend who was a bit more of Peter’s friend than mine.

“Does Peter have a new girlfriend?” I ask.

“No,” he says. “No. I mean, as far as I know. I haven’t seen him in years, actually.”

“Are you sure?”

“I mean, maybe he does. He might. But as far as I know, no, he doesn’t.”

“I just thought he must.”

“You think?”

“I just think why else would he have left me? Like at first, I was really heartbroken and suicidal and stuff, and I thought it was because I was too working-class and never put a bin-liner bag in the rubbish bin – I always use an Aldi Tüte, you know? Well, not Aldi. Lidl. We don’t have an Aldi near us. And then I thought maybe it was because I always left the heating on. And then I started shagging this dude – you know, the dude I’m shagging, the one I told you about? The – that one. And then I just felt really indifferent. I just thought, oh, well, whatever, I feel happier now. I mean, I do feel happier now. It was quite stressful, living with Peter, coz I think he was always unhappy. It’s quite stressful, living with a really unhappy person. I didn’t notice when he was here, but once he left, I felt so calm, after the suicidalness wore off, yeah. But then after the indifference period – that lasted about a month, yeah – just, like, calm indifference – then I felt like, really pissed off. I thought: ‘That dickhead.’ I mean, he is a dickhead. For leaving me, I mean. How could he leave me? I don’t mean to sound arrogant or anything. And I don’t mean about looks – he looks fine. I mean about, you know, your actual humanity. Your soul. Like, your actual spiritual worth as a human being. How could he bear to leave me? How could he dare to leave me? And so then I thought: well, he must have another girlfriend.”

“Oh, come on, Jacinta,” says my friend. “Don’t torture yourself like this. He just wanted out. He just wanted freedom. You know what it’s like. You’re up at six o’clock in the morning, smearing Schulbrot, and you’re thinking: where did my life go?”

“Smearing Schulbrot?” I say. This is a very Denglisch phrase my friend’s invented here, by the way. He means Schulbrot schmieren, spreading the sandwiches you put in your kid’s snack box for school with Philadelphia and honey and stuff.

“Yeah, you know. I was smearing Schulbrot the other day, and I just suddenly remembered: I used to take drugs, I used to stay out until six in the morning, I used to –”

“Peter didn’t leave me because he had to smear too much Schulbrot,” I say, interrupting him coldly.

“Well,” he says.

“I know this is a fact because Peter never smeared a Schulbrot in his entire fucking life. Ryan’s not his kid. We didn’t have that kind of relationship. He had no – he had no Schulbrot duties in our relationship.”

I sigh sadly. I hate talking to people about why me and Peter must have split up because it really drives it home to me the fact that he never truly fucking loved me at all. They say stuff like: “Maybe he had to smear too much Schulbrot or maybe the passion died in your relationship and you weren’t having enough sex” – and then I have to say, “No, he never smeared any Schulbrot, our relationship never had any passion in it, but we always had enough sex.” Robot reptile sex, like an electronic newt fucking a prostitute, but it was still sex. A penis mechanically sliding its way into a vagina is sex, isn’t it? It’s just a bit depressing.

“Anyway, the main thing is you’re happier now,” says my friend. “And you are, aren’t you?”

“Yeah,” I say. “I feel much happier. I don’t feel sad or scared or desperate anymore. I just feel angry coz I think he was a dickhead. I don’t feel desolate. I feel a bit relieved, to be honest.”

“So, you’re happier, and he’s probably happier, too, and Ryan’s gonna be a lot better off in the long run…”

“Yeah,” I say. “It would be nice if he got really, really ill, though, wouldn’t it? Peter, I mean. If he got really ill.”

“Jacinta!” says my friend, genuinely shocked.

“I don’t mean cancer,” I say. “Although, you know, to be totally honest, of course I have wished cancer on him at least four times since he left me, but that was just my inner pain speaking, I basically don’t mean cancer. I don’t want him to get cancer and die. I’m not an evil person, and besides, everyone knows, if you wish cancer on people you’re more likely to get it yourself. But something quite bad and painful. Like Gurtelhose. And he’ll lie in bed, on his own, and there’ll be nobody around to make him any soup. He’ll lie in bed, in pain, and he won’t have any fucking soup.”

“Would that make you feel happy?” my friend says, looking at me all sadly and thoughtfully and that.

“I’m not sure if it would make me feel happy,” I say. “But it would certainly make me feel… satisfied.”